The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo was not amused by individuals taking down her posters, tarpaulins, and pink ribbons, which were installed by her supporters in some parts of the country.
Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez did not mince words against these people as he condemned their actions as a form of repression against Filipinos’ right to express their support for a candidate.
This came as reports reached the Office of the Vice President (OVP) about the removal of tarpaulins, posters, and other materials that express support for Robredo.
”Isa itong paglabag sa karapatan ng lahat ng Pilipino na malayang ipahayag ang suporta nila sa isang kandidato at hindi dapat ginagawa ninuman, lalo na sa isang demokratikong bansa tulad ng Pilipinas (This is violation of the right of all Filipinos to freely express their support for a candidate and nobody should do this, especially in a democratic country like the Philippines),” Gutierrez said in a statement.
Supporters of Robredo in Zamboanga City reached out to the OVP and said that their materials were taken down from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, including those posted on private properties.
“Sa mga gumagawa nito, ganito na ba talaga sila katakot, na pati posters ni VP Leni na kinabit ng ating mga volunteers kailangang tanggalin (To those doing this, are they this afraid that they have to remove even posters of VP Leni hanged by our volunteers)?,” the spokesman asked.
The Vice President’s supporters in Masbate City also complained that their posters and tarpaulins were removed on the eve of Robredo’s visit to the city on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Her supporters appealed to some camps not to take down the posters because these were paid for from their own pockets.
Gutierrez echoed their sentiments, saying that the materials taken down were made and paid for by volunteers of Robredo as part of their people’s campaign.
“Ipinapaalam namin na ang mga ito ay gawa ng mga volunteer at binayaran galing sa sarili nilang bulsa bilang bahagi ng (We are reminding everyone that these are made by volunteers and paid for from their own pockets as part of their) people’s campaign,” he said.
A statement was posted on Team Leni Robredo Zamboanga City’s Facebook page.
It said that the traffic enforcers removed the posters because they wanted to send the message that these were “obstructions” when they could have asked the team’s admin to take them down.
“But we shall be watching on how all these will be applied for the other candidates fair and square,” the page wrote.
“If indeed this country remains a cradle of democracy, and Zamboanga City a staunch pillar of such, having our very own Mayor Cesar C Climaco an epitome of fighting for freedom, then why will our pink ribbons pose a threat to the arrival of the President?,” it asked.
The team said that even the Team Leni tarpaulin in the airport erected in a private property was taken down.
“Aren’t all these signs of suppression and oppression? Aren’t we supposed to practice tolerance and freedom of expression regardless of political color?,” the team stressed.